Watching Sunny Deol snarl, filling up one end of the screen to another, was total deja vu, taking me back to the time he did the same thing in the original Gadar, in which he single-handedly wrests his ‘dulhaniya’ away from the dastardly hands of her Pakistani father, played by Amrish Puri, who himself had a good line in snarls.
Gadar 2 is exactly in the same mould as the original, with the high-on-patriotism Tara Singh going on a rampage in Pakistan again, this time to rescue his strapping son (Sharma) from the clutches of the cruel Major General Hamid Iqbal (Wadhwa). So here’s the thing: why would we want to watch a reprise unless it offers us something more?
It is 1971, and the war clouds are looming. Tara and Sakeena (Patel) are content in their little nook, with sonny boy Charanjeet casting about for something to do. When a skirmish on the border results in the disappearance of papaji Tara, Jeete takes off on a rescue mission. It kickstarts an endless blur of rattling guns and scowling soldiers and venomous Pakistanis chasing our heroes, with clamorous set piece after set piece beggaring all belief, created solely to give the duo a chance to prove their valour and patriotic fervour.
Once in a while a teary Ameesha Patel shows up, big eyes swimming, to shower her love and affection on father-and-son; young Jeete is also given a love interest in pretty young Pakistani miss Muskaan (Kaur). Some songs and dances ensue, forgettable even as they are being played out.
Even when it came out, 22 years back, ‘Gadar’ was much too loud and melodramatic, very much the kind of doused-in-patriotism film that director Anil Sharma was known to make: that style was already going out of style. This iteration just reminds of you the loudness and the saccharine and the over-the-top dialoguing that new Bollywood had started shaking off, which we hoped was safely behind us. Clearly, in vain.
What we can confirm is that Sunny paaji can still snarl effectively, and that dhai-kilo-ka-haath has residual potency. We can also confirm the reappearance of a hand-pump. But this kind of film demands an Amrish Puri, who knew exactly how to turn into a worthy villain. Mogambo khush nahin hua.
Gadar 2 movie cast: Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Utkarsh Sharma, Simrat Kaur, Manish Wadhwa, Gaurav Chopra, Rakesh Bedi
Gadar 2 movie director: Anil Sharma
Gadar 2 movie rating: One and a half stars